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productivity, light-hearted humor

Proof that I haven't just been jerking off, hula-hooping in Malibu, wandering through the redwoods, and hanging out with RAW this summer...

Baryogenesis, Dark Matter and the Pentagon

Some people make houses, or software, or weapons of mass destruction... I make papers, that's my job now, I guess. Kind of nice to get one done. This makes numero dos. No more condensed matter for me, it's high energy all the way!

I emailed my sister a link to this, and of course she responded to me with two words: "In English?" Since I'm sure she's not the only one thinking that, here is the reply I sent her:

There are two unsolved mysteries that we're addressing.  One is the question of
why there is so much more matter in the universe than anti-matter (there's a huge
imbalance between them today, but it's usually assumed that they started out in
equal proportions), and the other is the question of what kind of particle makes
up the "dark matter" (matter in distant galaxies that we can see gravitationally
but which doesn't give off any light).  We proposed a new explanation for both
of them that ties the two problems together.  This is just one of many possible
explanations that have been proposed, but it's nice because it sort of kills "two
birds with one stone".

Hopefully that makes more sense than the abstract,


Back to the more technical jargon, for the few who can read it... one of the more embarassing things was that halfway through we realized the leading order irrelevant operators generating the effective potential for the pseudo-Goldstone boson should have been dimension 7 instead of 6, due to the R-symmetry in the Pentagon model. This changed a lot of the numbers, and a few of the conclusions, but fortunately we didn't have to redo any of the hard work. It's still possible to save the Pentagon, and fit the dark matter, and generate the right baryon asymmetry, all in a day's work, but only with a heirarchy problem or similar ugly things that may or may not work. But who knows, maybe someone will find another use for this particular mechanism, it still turned out a decent paper and I did learn a lot.

On a more comical note, I happend to run across an abstract today for a paper that contained the phrase "boosted fivebrane gas". For some reason, this strikes me as one of the most ridiculous sounding phrases I've seen yet in string theory (and believe me, that's saying a lot!) At some point, during my laughing through my nose, the following imaginery conversation took place in my head:

Interviewer: So, I see your current work is on "boosted fivebrane gasses". Could you tell me a bit about them?
New hire: Um, right. Well, uh... boosted fivebrane gasses. They're like, uh... gasses that are made out of 5-dimensional membranes, but boosted, ya know?
Interviewer: Hmmm. Could you elaborate?
New hire: Hell if I know. I just work on them, to tell you the truth I doubt anyone really knows what the mother fuckers are, but I'm quite certain they're useful for something.
Interviewer: Son, are you sure you haven't been inhaling some of the boosted fivebrane gas?
New hire: Me, smoking the BFG? No sir, my lungs are clear of that evil shit.
Interviewer: Good to know. Because I see a lot of reckless youngsters these days switching from Nitrous Oxide to Boosted Fivebrane Gas. It's far more potent, and stays in the system longer, but will fuck your mind like a dog in heat.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 14th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)
If you get your hands on some, I'll huff boosted fivebrane gas with you and Sean.
Aug. 14th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
oh, huffing is so passe... we're mainlining the shit now!
Aug. 18th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Hey there. I see you have friended me and I'm going to add you back if that's ok with you. Apparently I was rejected from the community--because I'm a measly undergrad perhaps? I want to go to grad school for theoretical particle physics, too, and don't have many friends into physics whatsoever. I'm also into nanotech (applied to diagnostics in particular), hacking (just finished my first real programming course..so you can kind of imagine my skill repetoire (or lack thereof) from that), string physics (although I'm not certain of a future in it...) astrophysics and knot theory. If you ever want to chat, my screenname is adreamofform. You have pretty amazing interests, by the way. That's all.

Aug. 18th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Um. Just re-read that a bit and saw the names "Daniel Dennett" and "Terence Mckenna". Strangely enough, the Archaic Revival is what made me want to be a physicist. Granted that was after it made me want to take "heroic" doses of things, but I guess I ended up in the right place eventually. Have you read The Origin of Consciousness? Or Gravity's Rainbow?
And I'm going to shut up now.
Aug. 19th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
I made a comment here in your journal, in case you didn't see it.

I liked a lot of your entries. You seem like an interesting person.

Where did you see Terrence McKenna on my lj? I think I mentioned someone I met recently having met him. I haven't read any of his books, but I have a few mp3s of him engaging in spoken word, which is pretty neat. That does sound like a rather odd way to get into physics!

I haven't read either of the books you mention (unless instead of Origin of Consciousness you mean Consciousness Explained, in which case yes, it's one of my favorite books listed in my bio). Gravity's Rainbow is one I've thought about picking up... I'll probably read it at some point.

I like your journal entries, there are several that I found insightful. Look forward to reading more.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


domino plural

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